A respite

Censorship>> Internet • Tajikistan

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

imageIn a country with no daily newspapers and soft-hitting state media outlets, the Internet is where Tajikistanis go for news. That apparently got officials worried. In recent months, some 50 websites, including independent news portals and even youtube, were blocked. Though most sites were reopened on October 10, analysts say they can go offline anytime.

The mass blockade started during a violent confrontation this summer between government troops and forces loyal to local warlords in the eastern Gorno- Badakhshan region. State media outlets also ignored the developments and, instead, ran programmes featuring traditional songs and dances. The restrictions persisted long after the violence was over. To raise awareness about the censorship, journalists launched a campaign, “100 Days for Internet Freedom in TajNet”, on October 3.

Nuriddin Karshiboev, head of National Association of Independent Media and one of the initiators of the campaign, said government regularly reacts to political uncertainty with Internet restrictions. “It is anybody’s guess when the government will clampdown next,” he said.

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